Yeah, you know the drill. I put a novel out every three months or so, and then fall into post-pubbing depression for a while, before kicking myself out of it. Eventually. “Lie” is not selling, and that is of course the end of the world. It’s getting rave reviews, it’s beloved by all, and yet, and yet…
Maybe the worst thing that happened to me was that insanely lucrative February I had. Because nothing’s rivaled it since. Okay, I’ve been a bad boy – I’ve been spending like a lottery winner, and then stressing that I’m not making enough money. If I just stopped throwing my money around, I’d be okay. A lot of the financial stress is self-imposed.
I’ve recently made a mental adjustment, as well. I’m a midlist author. That’s the way it goes. I’m not going to get triple #1’s (simultaneous #1’s in gay fiction, gay romance, gay erotica, and/or some other bizarre Amazon gay related category). I’m not writing the books that get triple #1’s. I can live with that. Because I have to. I can’t beat my head against the wall anymore, looking at the best seller list and going, why, why, doesn’t the world crown me Emperor of Everything?
I’m rereading “Have a Little Faith in Me” in advance of the BookBub, combing it one last time for typos. And it’s good! It’s really good. I’m a good writer. I can really do this shit. And rereading it, seeing the intense emotional passages in it, has given me insight into why I’m struggling with Ryan as a stand alone book character.
See, as far as we know from “Lie,” he’s a well adjusted guy. No unhappy childhood. He’s sex positive. Comfortable working as an escort. So…what’s his internal conflict? What’s so interesting about a guy with no demons, no flaws? Nothing! So he can’t be as well adjusted as he looks, can he, to carry his own story? Maybe he is by the time we get to the events of “Lie,” but not before that.
The only thing I can think is that he’s made himself emotionally unavailable, which gives us conflict when he meets his own love interest, and which is why he’s such a cerebral Dominant. But why? What happened to him? Who fucked him over to make him turn that part of himself OFF? How do I create a stimulating and exciting relationship for him that isn’t a replicant of Marc and Jesse’s?
Did I box myself in? Did I make him *too* perfect in “Lie”? Do I really have a character to work with here? How do I create a journey from…whatever he was to the super-together guy he is in “Lie,” and where do I start? I’m blank.
It’s funny how reading other novels affects you in the oddest ways. Rereading “The Fortress of Solitude” totally altered “Faith,” gave me the foundation for Rocky and Korey’s friendship, even though it’s nothing like that of the friends in “Fortress.” Rereading Dorothy Dunnett gave me the complex duel between Jesse and Marc. And the only thing I can think of is that I need to reread “And Then We Came to the End,” because there’s a character in there who looks perfect and…then we discover his secret.
I don’t know. I’m a bit adrift. Some part of me is saying, this is a good time to write another Adam Vance story – a totally emotionless, thoughtful, action-packed adventure story. Just…clear the cobwebs, set aside all the feelin’s for a while. Adam is absurdly selling a few copies every month, despite my complete lack of any effort in publicizing him. (Almost 100 copies this month, which, trust me, is amazing for a book that hasn’t been flogged in months.) I know he’s my long term investment – if I can’t be toplist in gayrom, maybe I can be toplist in science fiction.
I know I know, let’s all celebrate each other’s successes. But I’m a man. I’m competitive, in my realm at least. I want to win! At something!